Entertainment & Arts

Downton Abbey could boost Jeeves and Wooster box office

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Media captionMeet the new Jeeves and Wooster, Stephen Mangan and Matthew MacFadyen

The stars of a new stage adaptation of Jeeves and Wooster have said the popularity of dramas like Downton Abbey could boost the new show's box office.

Stephen Mangan and Ripper Street's Matthew MacFadyen respectively play the hapless toff and his faithful valet.

Mangan said: "It's almost a fantasy, that turn of the century England where people are good eggs."

"It's a bit like the Downton vision of England and it was hugely popular in America for that reason."

"It's just like Downton because we like to see this prettied up version of England," he said.

The new show, Perfect Nonsense, is directed by Sean Foley and is based on PG Wodehouse's 1938 novel The Code of the Woosters.

The story sees Bertie Wooster unwittingly called on to play matchmaker - reconciling the affections of Madeline Bassett with his newt-fancying acquaintance Gussie Fink-Nottle.

Image caption Blandings was adapted by the BBC from Wodehouse's series

Wodehouse, who died in 1975, aged 93, is undergoing something of a revival. Earlier this year, BBC One broadcast a TV adaptation of his Blandings Castle stories, with another series commissioned for next year.

Birdsong author Sebastian Faulks has also written a new book, Jeeves and The Wedding Bells, after being asked by the Wodehouse estate to bring the "immortal" characters to life.

"I hope my story will ring bells with aficionados, but also bring new readers to these wonderful books," he added.

The characters were memorably played on TV by Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry in the 1990s.

Mangan, star of Green Wing and Episodes, holds Wodehouse up as one of the funniest writers of all time, and said his enduring popularity would stand the new show in good stead.

"The Wodehouse fan base is already massive and we've had a lot of interest from the moment it was announced that we were doing it because apart from a musical that Lloyd Webber did in the 70s, they've never been played on stage.

"But yes, fans of Downton, anyone who likes period drama, will maybe look our way."

Jeeves and Wooster opens on 12 November.

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